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Pastor Saeed
Photo: ACLJ

After being convicted on charges of threatening Iran's national security through his leadership in the establishment of Christian house churches, Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The anticipated trial, followed by the shocking sentence, took place in Tehran on January 21, 2013. (For a previous report on this situation, click here.)

Upon hearing the formal charges, the 32-year-old Iranian-American pastor told the judge he had no involvement in politics or in undermining the government. He explained that after moving to the United States in 2005, he periodically returned to his country of origin to visit his family, as well as oversee the development of an orphanage he had begun years earlier. Prior to this, about a decade ago, Saeed was the founder of a growing house church movement which consisted of more than 2,000 members. However, at that time, house churches were not considered a threat in Iran.

"This trial apparently is focussed on 13 years ago, when Pastor Saeed converted from Islam to Christianity," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Centre for Law and Justice, who is representing Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, and their children. Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, the State Department condemned the sentencing and called for Saeed's release. According to reports in Mohabat News, although the Iranian constitution recognizes religious minorities' rights, the regime prosecutes Christian converts from an Islamic background. For more information on the nation of Iran, please go to the Iran Country Report.

In the midst of her personal suffering, Naghmeh Abedini asks for continued prayer. She courageously reminds us that even though Saeed (who always had a heart for the imprisoned) has himself been bound through this persecution, the Word of God is being released.

May our Almighty God abundantly bless Pastor Saeed for his steadfast faith throughout the ordeal. In the name of Jesus, we ask for God's divine protection on our Christian brother during this unjust incarceration. Pray that (in the words of Saeed) he continues to be a vessel in bringing God's Kingdom to a dark place by sharing the Gospel of peace and eternal life to the dying world. We also pray that justice will ultimately be served and that, through the Lord's mighty intervention, Saeed will be safely returned to his wife and two young children.

Current Ministry Fund

By funding television broadcasts, VOMC is making it possible for a vast audience of viewers to be reached throughout Iran with the "Good News" of Jesus' love via satellite.

Project Fund: Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
85,888,910 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity
Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes

Religion (%)
Islam (99.6), other, including Christian (0.3), Unspecified (0.2)

Leader
President Ebrahim Raisi (2021)

Government type
Theocratic republic

Legal system
Religious legal system based on secular and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iran

As the Gospel message goes forth over the airwaves, may the growth of the church continue to multiply despite persecution. Pray that the Iranian government will be open to change, allowing full rights and protection for its non-Muslim citizens as well. In the meantime, may those who are forced to flee the country find safe refuge and help so they can live in peace and worship the Lord with freedom.

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